I bought a bunch of handmade soap when I was at Cummington last year – some from Bay Colony Farms. I usually cut the bars in half because I like to have a nice little bowl full of pretty soaps next to my sink and the small sizes are more convenient. I also purchased a bag of felter’s candy from Mielkes Farm when I was at Rhinebeck 2 years ago. I have made a bunch of soap, but this bag never seems to get any smaller. By the way, if you don’t have any “handmade soap”, the first time I tried this, I grabbed a bar of Dove soap. So, choose a color of your wool, rip off a piece, spread it out a bit and wrap it around your bar of soap.
Get your wool colored soap wet and slowly begin to rub the fibers with your hands. Go slowly at first, forming the wool around the soap. You can even add other colors – here are some appropriate April colors for Project Spectrum.
It really wants to move around a lot. I do this over the sink, using the water from the faucet, but when my daughter is doing this, I have her stand over the mat, with a bowl of water nearby. Start off with hot water – be careful with the temperature of the kids water. My daughter seems to be a lot more sensitive to temperatures. What I think is warm, she thinks is burning hot..
As the wool becomes formed to the soap, you can rub a little harder – really getting those suds going – felting the wool around that bar of soap. And don’t forget the water. I run the water over the soap periodically – washing away the suds. I also alternate between hot and cold water, thinking that this may help the felting process along. This is where you can use the mat if you have one – rubbing the soap/wool over those ridges. Remember to work the edges and corners also. This whole process will be very sudsy.
When the wool is nicely formed around the soap, you can rinse the bar again, getting rid of some of those suds and let it dry on the towel.
Then place a few bars in a bowl and admire your work.
These make great gifts for the kids to give their teachers. Or for that hard to buy for friend - make some soap to match the colors of her bathroom.